Keerthi Vedantam and Claire Roney
Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016
O’Halleran, Biggs win new AZ Congressional seats
Democrat Tom O’Halleran was elected to the Congressional District 1 seat, while Republican Andy Biggs was a clear winner in District 6.
In other Congressional districts, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, Republican Trent Franks and other incumbents won re-election.
The Congressional slate in unofficial returns, in numerical order:
District No. 1
O’Halleran apparently was headed to replace fellow Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who apparently lost a bid for the Senate seat held by longtime Republican Sen. John McCain. O”Halleran captured about 50 percent of the vote, ahead of Republican Paul Babeu’s 44 percent. The Associated Press declared O’Halleran the winner.
District 1 includes major cities Flagstaff, Globe, Superior and Show Low.
O’Halleran a former state senator who lost a bid as an independent for Arizona’s District 6 two years ago, made improvement of the economy and the workforce a centerpiece of his campaign. He also wants to increase investments to education and improve the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Babeu, former Pinal County sheriff, ran for District 4 in 2014.
District No. 2
Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally won re-election to Arizona’s second Congressional District, spanning much of southeastern Arizona, including Tucson and Oro Valley.
McSally embraced mental-health care reforms such as early intervention, reducing incarceration and better treatment. She also advocated for utilizing the southern border to create jobs, including adding staff to the Douglas Port of Entry, especially veterans.
She defeated Democratic candidate Matt Heinz, 54 percent to 46 percent in early returns.
District No. 3
Democrat Raul Grijalva, who has represented District 3 for 14 years, will return again. Grijalva, who only faced write-in opposition, pledged to increase investments in public education, improve the economy by cutting taxes to the middle class, improving the environment through the preservation of public lands and building awareness of climate change to legislation.
District No. 4
Republican Paul Gosar, who has represented District 4 since he was elected in 2011, battled Democrat Mikel Weisser and two write-in candidates.
Gosar won with nearly 70 percent of the vote. His campaign focused on decreasing government power, citing 79 amendments to cut spending. In Arizona, he worked to prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service from creating new regulations on Lake Havasu boats.
Gosar’s platform also said he worked on behalf of veterans, including bolstering VA administration funding and supporting moves to streamline care and reduce wait times in the beleaguered agency.
District No. 5
Republican Andy Biggs, who squeaked to victory in a primary election that ended in a court battle, won the election with about 63 percent of the vote.
District 5 was the second Congressional district available to a new representative, as Rep. Matt Salmon decided to retire after four years serving the southeast Valley.
“I’m happy to be able to have that opportunity to go back and serve, and the second thing is that this has been a long campaign and I’m happy that it’s come to an end,” said Biggs, a former leader in the Arizona Legislature.
Biggs pledged to introduce a bill in his first two weeks in office that would prevent Congress from being paid until it passed a balanced budget. He also promised to work on repealing Common Core and the Affordable Care Act, treading Republican Party themes.
He handily defeated Democrat Talia Fuentes and a Libertarian write-in candidate.
Incumbent Republican Congressman David Schweikert, serving since 2010, trounced Democrat John Williamson for a third time in the majority Republican District 6, gaining about 39 percent of the votes. Schweikert won by a margin of 20 percent.
“The reality of it is north Phoenix and Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Carefree, Cave Creek, have been stunningly kind to me. Look, we work hard, but you really, really appreciate when you’re treated this kindly,” Schweikert said.
Schweikert, an Arizona representative for six years, ran his campaign on local issues such as the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2014 decision to change flight paths, causing noise pollution in central Phoenix neighborhoods. He also tackled Valley Fever awareness and research for a cure in Maricopa County.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, elected in 2014 to the 7th Congressional district, handily won re-election over Republican Eva Nunez and a write-in candidate The district, covering Glendale, Tolleson and the South Mountain Preserve area, is a Democratic stronghold that was represented by Ed Pastor for years before Gallego was elected.
Gallego, an Iraq war veteran, has a history of voting against increased military spending. He voted “nay” to increase defense spending in May 2015. Gallegos voting record follows party lines. He opposed an anti-abortion bill that claimed to abolish abortions if the fetus could feel pain, and voted against harsher immigration screenings for Iraqi and Syrian refugees.
Rep. Trent Franks, a member of Congress for 12 years, easily outdistanced opponents to return to office representing District 8 in Surprise, Peoria and Litchfield Park.
Frank’s politics fit the demographics of the area’s largely conservative constituents. He ran on a platform of repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare, banning abortion and increasing military spending.
Incumbent Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, a four-year Congresswoman representing Tempe, easily dispatched Republican Dave Giles and a write-in Libertarian candidate.
Sinema ran her campaign on cutting government waste and increasing spending efficiency by supporting the ‘No Budget No Pay Act’ that would only allow Congress to be paid if they passed a budget. She also supports Medicare, Social Security and other relief programs for families living in poverty. She won the election with more than 60 percent of the vote.
District 9 includes northern Phoenix, Mesa and Chandler.